Mayor’s Spokesperson Jumps Ship, Joins Port

I missed it the first time I looked at the front page of the today’s Cape Breton Post, but then again, it wasn’t exactly given big play: just a sidebar next to the headline stories about flood mitigation and recovering policemen.

Eventually, though, I saw it:

Cape Breton Post, 30 May 2018

Cape Breton Post, 30 May 2018

Yes, the mayor’s “political” hire, who was tapped without a competition for a job CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke created out of whole cloth for her in 2012, is making the move to the Port of Sydney where she will supervise the cruise division for the next year. Lamey’s new job — interim manager of cruise marketing and development — has opened up because Nicole MacAulay, who has been serving as “acting” manager since the departure of Bernadette MacNeil who was injured in a car accident, is going on maternity leave.

Now, I had heard a rumor that Lamey was going to be hired as a communications person at the Port which caused me, personally, no end of panic — I assumed I’d never get an answer about anything Port-related again, given that Lamey rarely answers any of my emails. (She told me, memorably, once that when I was prepared to offer the mayor “fair and balanced coverage” — as judged, apparently, by his partisan political spokesperson — she’d start getting back to me.)

I contacted Port CEO Marlene Usher on Monday to ask if there was any truth to this rumor and she told me:

We are hiring on contract an individual to replace Nicole (who is replacing Bernadette) while on maternity leave.

The position was advertised and all interviews have been conducted by a panel.

We have not concluded the process yet so I cannot disclose yet who is the successful candidate.

I asked who was on the panel and when I could expect an announcement about the successful candidate. Usher replied:

Nicole MacAulay, [Port General Manager] Paul Carrigan and myself.

Once we notify the other candidates and sign an employment contract we will be in a position to confirm. There will be no formal announcement for a contract employee. [emphasis mine]

Usher’s desire for privacy in this matter — because really, why should the public know anything about hirings at the port it owns? — was stymied by the Post which seems to have gone directly to Lamey for confirmation (and she, apparently, responds to their emails).



But I will rise above my own personal pique to consider Lamey’s qualifications for the cruise marketing job, which was apparently posted on 10 April 2018 with a closing date of 18 April 2018, and in which she will, as you can see in the job description, handle communications for the cruise business:



Here is how she describes herself on her (recently revamped) LinkedIn page (which features a photo of the Port in which a cruise ship figures prominently):

Christina Lamey has over 20 years of experience in the fields of journalism, television production, graphic design, politics and government. She has managed media relations and communications for federal, provincial and municipal elected officials. She was the communications director for one of Nova Scotia’s major political parties and is currently the communications advisor in the Mayor’s Office in Atlantic Canada’s third-largest municipality.

Prior to working in politics and government, Christina co-founded a newspaper, produced and edited documentaries for Canadian and international broadcasters and worked in television post-production as an editor.

Christina is the Chair of the Female Minor Hockey Council in CBRM. She is also the past-President of the Nova Scotia Women’s Hockey League, the largest and fastest growing women’s league in Atlantic Canada.

Do you see anything in that that screams: CRUISE MARKETING AND DEVELOPMENT?

No, I don’t either. I see the latest chapter in a “You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours” saga that started with Usher, in her former incarnation as an Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC) executive, securing the money necessary for Business Cape Breton (BCB) to hire Cecil Clarke (without a job competition) as an economic development adviser. In return Clarke, after being elected mayor in 2012, tapped Usher to head the Port of Sydney Development Corporation (without a job competition) and hired Lamey as a spokesperson (without a job competition). Now Usher has also hired Lamey, who is getting out of the mayor’s office before the mayor does.

That there at least was a job competition this time represents, I guess, some kind of progress, although I’ve actually heard people argue that flat-out patronage hiring is kinder than fake competitive hiring, where people are made to think they have a chance at jobs they haven’t a hope in hell of getting. (For the record, I don’t buy that argument, mostly because I think we should demand better than that.)

I would very much like to know who else applied for the job and what kind of criteria the panel used in its decision-making process.

I wonder how those people felt when they read today’s Post?